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A. Roster/Drafting

After you sign up, you will be taken to the Draft Center. You must fill a roster comprised of the following positions:

Position Number
Forwards 12
Defenseman 6
Goalie 2
Additional (Any Pos) 2
Optional (Goalie or Skater) 1

Each team owner must draft 23 players when keeping the team payroll usage under the cap for the league.  General public leagues always have a $50 million cap. Special theme leagues could use a $75 million cap. Be aware of the cap for the league you are joining in order to draft the best possible team. There is no limit to the number of teams an owner may have in his/her account. However, each owner may only have up to two (2) teams in the same league, as long as they are in different conferences. Your $50 million may be dispersed any way you see fit. For example, you can choose to use $40 million on just a handful of players or you may choose a more balanced approach. Once you add a player to your draft roster, the player may be replaced at any time during the draft process until you join a league - which finalizes your roster.

Each Full-Season League is comprised of 2 conferences - 3 divisions in each conference with 4 teams in each division. Exhibition Leagues are comprised of 1 division only with 6 teams. You can participate in one Exhibition League only within a 30-day period, but you can participate in as many Full-Season Leagues as you wish.

You do NOT have to draft your entire team all at once. We save your draft picks for up to 30 days from the time you start drafting, so you have up to 30 days to finish drafting your team. 

During the season, you will have the flexibility to make several roster changes, however in order to respect these draft requirements, you must keep at least 10 forwards, 5 defensemen, and 2 goalies on your team at all times. Minor league prospects do not count toward these requirements.

B. Available Players

SimLeague Hockey competition is based on statistics (i.e., past performance) during a completed NHL regular season (excluding the playoffs). You may choose any player (current or former) from a particular season, as long as he has played in more than 20 games in that season. You will not be able to draft a player from a current (in progress) regular NHL season. Those players will become available after that particular NHL regular season ends.

Players are not listed by career numbers, but instead individual season statistics. So, you may have the same player on your roster multiple times, as long as the player is from different seasons (i.e., you can have the '79-'80 Wayne Gretzky from his first season in the NHL and the '88-'89 Wayne Gretzky from his first season in Los Angeles. However, you could not have the '88-'89 Wayne Gretzky on your roster twice). In addition, a player may be on more than one team in the league at the same time (i.e., 2 teams in a league may have the '01-'02 Nicklas Lidstrom on their rosters simultaneously).

When searching for players, you may search by any combination of the following criteria:

Please note that you will not be able to draft anyone from the current (in progress) NHL season. Players will be available once the regular season ends.

C. Joining a League

Once your team's roster is set, you will be asked to give your team a name (the use of profanity is prohibited; DO NOT USE YOUR REAL NAME FOR YOUR TEAM NAME) and to choose a home arena (you have numerous arenas to choose from, ranging from historic to modern, some with tougher home-ice advantages than others).

You will also be asked to either:

(a) Join the first available public league - your team will be placed in the first league with an open spot - this option gives you the best opportunity to start league play as soon as possible;

(b) Create a new private league - this option allows you to create a new private league. After your private league has been created, you can get your friends to join you. Please note that if you start a private league, you have 7 days to fill the league. After 7 days, your private league will be opened to the public to fill the remaining spots (just like public leagues, private leagues are comprised of 24 teams);

(c) Join an existing league - use this option if you have received an invitation to join a private league; or

(d) Create a new theme league - use this option to create a new theme league. Please note that theme leagues (also comprised of 24 teams) remain open until they are filled.

If you do not want to wait for any league that you joined to fill up, you may: (1) request that your team (as drafted) be moved to a different league; or (2) draft a new team and join another league. For more information on private and theme leagues, click here.

Immediately after you save your team, you will be placed in a league. Once the league is full, each team owner will receive an email notifying them that their league has been set, games scheduled and the date league play will begin.

D. Team Draft Tips

Numerous factors will affect your team's performance including, among others, your players' statistics, player fatigue, player injuries and the strategies you employ for your offense and defense. The simulation engine used to produce game results combines the actual statistics of each player on your team from that particular season (e.g., shots, goals, penalty minutes, time on ice and games played) with your managerial style of play preferences (aggressive, medium or conservative) in various categories, as well as the same for your opponent to determine events on a second-by-second basis and, ultimately, the outcome of the game. Therefore, when drafting your team, remember these helpful tips:


Once you have completed your roster and selected an arena, you will be taken to the Team Center. The Team Center is the center of your SimLeague universe. From the Team Center, you have access to different areas to help you manage your team:

A. League Office

This area allows you to view your team's schedule, view your team's standings, view stats for the other teams in your league, post messages to other team owners in your league, view boxscores from any day on your schedule, and view other league information.

B. Coach's Office

This area allows you to scout the team you'll be playing in your next game, set your Coaching Options, set your lines and pairs, choose your starting and backup goalies, tinker with advanced settings, and set your game and scratch rosters.

Roster Deadlines: If you are the visiting team, you must have your rosters, lines and pairs set by 12:00PM (noon) EST for afternoon games or 12:00AM (midnight) for overnight games. Fore more on this, click here.

C. GM's Office

Team Roster This area gives you access to your full team roster including your minor league prospects. Owners of Full-Season League teams have 6 minor league prospects to choose from in setting their active rosters. Each minor league player is rated relative to other minor league players. This players are rated in several skill areas on a scale of 1-100 (1 worst, 100 best). Just as in real life, some minor league prospects will do poorly and some will do well - their skills are randomly chosen by the simulation engine based on stamina, skating ability, shooting ability, toughness and defense. With more ice time, their skills will begin to improve. It's up to you as the General Manager to monitor their performance before deciding who stays on the final roster and who finishes the season in the minors. Their improvements can be seen in their profile, which is found by clicking on their names.

Minor league players can be called up at any time after the season starts by clicking on the player's name. Calling up a minor league player will require that a player from your active roster be sent down to the minors. Players sent down cannot be recalled to your big league team roster for at least 24 hours. The player payroll for your active roster cannot exceed $50 million. Each minor league player's salary is $165,000, however your team is given an additional $990,000 ($165,000 x 6) to cover the cost of your 6 minor leaguers.

Limitations: You cannot waive or release a minor league prospect. You can, however, include them in trades.

Waiver Wire The GM's office also gives you access to the Waiver Wire. The Waiver Wire shows players that are available to be claimed. The longer the player is on the Waiver Wire, the lower his salary gets. Salaries are reduced by 4% per day up to a maximum of 12%. You may claim a player if you don't already have that player on your roster (the same player from the same year cannot be on your roster twice) and you have enough available cash to claim the player. You are required to maintain a full roster of 23 players so in order to claim someone, you must release an existing player unless you have more than 23 real players on your team. The money freed up by releasing a player combined with any available cash you had after your draft equals your acquiring power - the maximum you can use to claim a player on waivers.

Initially populated with 150 (25 at each position, 50 defenders) random players from various teams and seasons, the Waiver Wire is used by team owners of all leagues and is constantly used to claim and release players. So, if you release Mario Lemieux, he may be picked up by someone else in another league or by someone in your league and vice versa.

In Full-Season Leagues, there is no limit to the number of Waiver Wire transactions (release-claim) you can make per season. But, your Full-Season League roster must be final by the date specified on your GM's Office page (this happens close to the end of the season). You will not be able to waive or claim players after that time.

In Exhibition Leagues, you are limited to one Waiver Wire transaction per season with no deadline.

Waiver Wire Transaction Fee: In both Full-Season Leagues and Exhibition Leagues, you will incur a 10% transaction fee for each player that you claim. For example, if you want to claim a $1 million player, you'll need to give up $1.1 million.

Limitations: All Waiver Wire transactions must be made before the transaction deadline which will be displayed in your GM's Office. The date will also be highlighted on your schedule so you can plan accordingly. You have flexibility in making roster changes, however you must keep at least 10 forwards, 5 defensemen, and 2 goalies on your team at all times. Minor league prospects do not count toward these requirements.


A. The Schedule

Each Full-Season League is comprised of 2 conferences - 3 divisions in each conference with 4 teams in each division. In Full-Season Leagues, each team will play a total of 82 games - two games every day; one game will be simulated in the afternoon and one game will be simulated overnight. The breakdown is as follows:

Opponent Teams Games
Against my division 3 26
Inter-Division 8 32
Inter-Conference 12 24
TOTAL   82

Exhibition Leagues are comprised of one division only with 6 teams. In Exhibition Leagues, each team will play a total of 10 games - two games every day; one game will be simulated in the afternoon and one game will be simulated overnight. Exhibition League teams play 2 games at home and 2 games away against each team in the league.

A. The Results

As soon as the games for each day have been simulated, you can find the results, including complete boxscores in your Team Center. League standings are also automatically updated.

B. The Playoffs (FULL-SEASON ONLY)

Each division winner will make the playoffs. The winner of each division shall be the team with the most points accumulated at the completion of the regular season. In the event of a tie in which two teams have the same amount of points at the end of the regular season, the winner will be decided based on which team had more regular season wins. If there is still a tie, the team that recorded more wins against each other (head to head record) will be proclaimed the division winner. If their head to head record is identical, then the team with the better goal differential is the winner.


Each conference will have three division winners that will be seeded 1-3 based on points. In the event of a tie, the seeding will use the same tie-breaking methods described above. Other than the division winners, the top five remaining teams with the highest amount of points will make the playoffs and be seeded 4-8 accordingly.

In round one of the playoffs, seed 1 plays seed 8, seed 4 plays seed 5, seed 3 plays seed 6, and seed 2 plays seed 7. The team with the lower seed number has home-ice advantage for each series. Each series is the best of 7 games.

A playoff breakdown showing the playoff bracket along with a series summary will be available on your League Office once the playoffs begin.

The winners of each league championship series shall meet in the Stanley Cup finals for a best of 7 series. This series shall follow the following format:

Games one, two, five and seven are played at the arena of the team with home-ice advantage. Games three, four, and six are played at the arena of the team without home-ice advantage.

The conference champions shall meet in the League Finals for a best of 7 series, starting at the team with the better overall record and alternating locations in a 2-2-1-1-1 format.

D. Prizes/Credits (FULL-SEASON ONLY)

As if the glory and admiration of your defeated opponents wasn't enough, the Stanley Cup winner also receives Reward Points for use in the WhatIfSports Reward Center!

You can use your Reward Points toward free simleague teams, merchandise and other great prizes!

Prizing will be awarded after procedures applicable to winners (as set forth in the Official Rules ) are completed (the free Full-Season SimLeague Hockey team will appear in your Team Center).

If your team makes it to the playoffs but you do not win the cup, you will get a site credits based on which round you made it to.

For more information on how many Reward Points and credits you can receive, read this knowledge base article.

(Note: Credits are valid for use on future SimLeague Hockey purchases only. Credits not used within 30 days will expire. Credits are not redeemable for cash.)